Rayas or Richebourg? You Decide: 2015 Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Posted on: 07/24/18 12:01 PM


With comparisons to Rayas and Richebourg, Charvin occupies a pretty heady place in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The incredible vineyards and old school approach have attracted collectors and enthusiasts for decades, the exceptional and profound qualities of the wines have kept them coming back.

2015 is an epic vintage at this traditional Domaine, with critics gushing over how excellent the effort is here, and Josh Raynolds even alleging that this may be the best wine from this excellent Domaine:

“In 2015 Charvin made what might be, for me, perhaps the best wine ever from his family’s nine hectares of vines on Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which he took over in 1990. As an example of his wines’ ageworthiness, the 1998 rendition of Charvin’s Châteauneuf, from a highly-regarded vintage whose wines are often and unfortunately over the hill and drying out now, is absolutely lovely today, with deep color and intense, still-fresh red fruit and floral character. Well-stored bottles should have no trouble hitting their 25th birthday in fine form, which I don’t expect to be the case with most wines from this hot vintage.”

Two words: Go long.


2015 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Josh Raynolds: “Lurid ruby-red. Sexy, highly perfumed raspberry, boysenberry and floral pastille scents are complemented by hints of musk rhubarb and Asian spices. Palate-staining sweet red and blue fruit and spicecake flavors show power as well as superb vivacity thanks to a spine of juicy acidity. The floral quality comes back emphatically on a strikingly long, sappy finish shaped by smooth, slow-mounting tannins. This might be the finest wine to emerge from this estate that I have ever tasted, and I’ve had some pretty amazing ones over the years.” 94-96 pts. Vinous

Jancis Robinson: “Tasted blind. Bright crimson. Rich and racy with real depth of flavour. Masses of fine tannins and really rather majestic. Hint of ginger syrup. Grown-up wine. Long.” 18 pts.

More about the Wine:

Old School. Perhaps more than anyone else, Laurent Charvin represents an atavistic approach to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. One of the last producers to use whole cluster fermentations, he also is unusual in eschewing oak altogether by raising the wine in concrete tanks for 21 months. Moreover, with vineyards abutting the remarkable sandy soils of its famous neighbor, Ch. Rayas (to whom Robert Parker has often compared this Domaine), the old vine (60+ years old) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre here is about as good as it gets in appellation. As such, Domaine Charvin is prized by Rhône enthusiasts as an embodiment of traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape of incredible clarity, purity, length and freshness.

Don’t believe me? Do a little research and you’ll find dozens of wine blogs, importers’ write ups, wine writers’ reports and tasting notes from collectors that all ooze with praise and plaudits for the distinction of these remarkable wines. A sample:

“Charvin may indeed produce the Richebourg of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.” – Robert Parker

“Laurent Charvin’s wines are always some of the most elegant, highly perfumed and pure wines of the appellation. At the same time they are reliably deep in flavour and balanced to age, despite their suave, upfront appeal.” – Josh Raynolds

These really are hors classe in the appellation and wines every serious collector of great French wine should have in their cellar. I have had many profound bottles from Charvin over the years. 2015 is a monument to this old school house and one you should stock up on.

Posted in Daily Flash By Ian Halbert